Pam Aister (pictured), an Arizona teacher, was fired for defending a Black student against racist bullies, CBS5 reports.
SEE ALSO: Discussing The Media’s Anti-Black Bias
The incident happened this past May at Four Peaks Elementary School. Fourth-grade teacher Aister noticed the student being harassed by five boys who’d targeted him before. The boys had reportedly been calling 9-year-old Malachi Gillis, “monkey,” crackhead,” and said, “You belong to a zoo.”
In response, Aister reported told the boys, “He is not alone. When you pick on him – you pick on me. It is not five to one anymore. It is five to two. There will be no more taunting, teasing, and racial names called. That is not acceptable here; do you understand?”
Per a report by a district-appointed hearing officer, a Mother of one of the bullies complained, saying she found Aister’s actions threatening. That officer recommended Aister’s firing, partially because she allegedly wouldn’t take responsibility for her conduct. The board agreed and terminated Aister during a special meeting last week, voting 4-1.
Dr. C.T. Wright, the lone dissenter in the group, said Aister’s punishment was too much, especially given her 25 years of excellent service in the district.
Others who came to the meeting in support of Aister were upset by the decision. “Even if mistakes were made, it sends the wrong message to the student body, to the other parents — that a group of Moms can get together and get the school board on their side to bully a teacher,” said Drew Coleman.
Others supported the firing.
“In this instance, these parents, everyone knowing what they know about her (Aister’s) reputation and knowing there was actual proof and knowing there was more than one witness – felt that this was their opportunity to finally bring to light the way that she treats certain children,” said Nicole Perkins, who has children at the school that didn’t have Aister as a teacher.
But Gillis’ mother was also angry at the decision.
“That makes me beyond mad because why is she being fired for something she is supposed to do?” Jennifer Gillis asked. “She’s supposed to be standing up for the students. They didn’t like it, so it turned into her threatening the kids because she stood up for this one Black child in her class.”
CBS5 tried getting comment from the board members, but they quickly departed after the meeting.
Of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise in the same state that passed the racist SB 1070 into law.
Watch a news report about the incident here: